Growth, talk of moving Sevierville fire station ignite debate

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The city of Sevierville is growing, and that growth means there will soon be more fire stations to serve the residents and tourists.

The city has outgrown the downtown fire station, and plans to abandon it. That's not sitting well with many of the people the station serves.

Since 1965, the city of Sevierville has had just one fire station, and just three trucks line the bays today.

City spokesman Bob Stahlke says, "Over the last ten to fifteen years, our city has seen tremendous growth in terms of the number of residents and also the amount of traffic that we have."

That growth is prompting the installation of a new fire substation off Collier Drive.

Stahlke says, "We have a lot of retail and restaurants and businesses in that area. That will open very soon."

And the growth to the north and east is prompting the city to consider additional stations around town, but a plan to move the downtown station to the airport some two and a half miles away is drawing fire.

"Our ability to respond quickly is based on where we're dispatched from."

Board of Alderman member Barry Gibbs feels such a move would compromise downtown.

"Based on the concentration for our highest regard for fire and emergency services would be is always, in my opinion, downtown."

But Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley says the growth has caused a problem for the downtown station.

"To be able to get out of that downtown location sometimes can be quite hazardous."

Atchely feels staying close but following the growth is the best idea.

"And that's probably your most common fire is a house fire versus a business fire or something like that."

Mayor Atchley expect the issue will come back up for discussion at their next workshop on April 21.

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